Dubai hotel chain Jumeirah has Asia firmly on its radar

Luxury hotel firm plans 10 new sites in the Asia-Pacific region - and eight will be in China

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 01 November, 2016, 4:30pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 01 November, 2016, 7:56pm

China is set to have more Jumeirah hotels than any other country in the world aside from Dubai, as the luxury hotel chain gets serious about its Asia expansion.

The Dubai-based hotel firm has 10 Asia-Pacific projects in the pipeline, eight of them in China, Jumeirah’s group chief development officer Shafi Syed told the Post during a recent trip to Hong Kong.

“Our Chinese customer profile has grown significantly from the time we opened.We see the [Chinese] sector growing in the near future,” he said.

Last year, over 176,000 Chinese guests visited Jumeirah hotels outside China.

Hong Kong is on Jumeirah’s radar, too, but isn’t part of its immediate plans which include Sanya, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Haikou, Macau, Qiandouhu, and Wuhan.

Jumeirah Nanjing, which was designed by acclaimed British designer, the late Zaha Hadid, will be launching in the second quarter next year, making it the company’s second China-based hotel after it opened in Shanghai in 2011.

“It’ll be one of the tallest buildings in Nanjing and so will be quite iconic. I’m sure it will make some headlines when it does open,” he told the Post.

“We work extremely well with developers who have fantastic vision, like the Nanjing property,” he said.

Our company is unique in that we don’t have ‘cookie-cutter’ brand standards that allows a developer to actually have a blank canvas to work with
Shafi Syed, group chief development officer, Jumeirah

“Our company is unique in that we don’t have ‘cookie-cutter’ brand standards that allows a developer to actually have a blank canvas to work with, so each of our hotels are unique and very different. Whether it’s 76 rooms in St Petersberg that we’re opening, or 2,000 rooms in Dubai, you can’t really put us in a box.”

And Jumeirah plans to do the same in Asia as it works with its partners here.

“We remain a company that will be very focussed on relationships – working with a developer partner, sharing a vision with them, being flexible in terms of what they want to do with their project, however very focussed on delivering returns of their investment.”

Syed says he has noticed a more unique take on food options and personalisation in hotel experiences as growing trends in the Chinese hotel industry - but noted these were already part of the hotel group’s DNA.

“We’re a homegrown brand from Dubai which has aspirations to grow where our customers want us to grow. That’s really our strategy,” said Syed.